One hundred years after the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote, we have an opportunity to not only look back at the stories of the suffrage movement, but to contextualize that history, re-examine it, and connect it to the lives of women today.
Despite the ratification of that landmark amendment on August 18, 1920, the chronicle of voting rights for all women, as well as women’s participation in the political process, was far from over. Today we continue to reckon with a fraught and fractured past while seeking equity within the ongoing fight for women’s rights, shaping our future, and celebrating the groundswell of support for women candidates entering the political arena.
As a community, there are moments in which there is a palpable sense that we are dwelling at the juncture of past and present. This confluence of frustration and optimism, of what has been and what could be, has manifested locally in many ways, but perhaps most visibly in the St. Louis Women’s Marches (which are not affiliated with the National Women’s March) and the recent primary elections. The energy around women and their role in making change is hard to ignore.
The Missouri History Museum’s newest exhibition, “Beyond the Ballot: St. Louis and Suffrage,” honors the role of women as changemakers, and the Missouri Historical Society has two upcoming virtual programs that address this transitional moment and the most recent surge of women stepping up to make their voices heard, both on the streets and on the ballots.
You’ll want to tune in for “Represent,” on Wednesday, August 26, also at 6:30 p.m. Local author Amanda Doyle will lead a moderated conversation with June Diane Raphael and Kate Black, authors of “Represent: The Woman’s Guide to Running for Office and Changing the World.”
Raphael is an actress, comedian, screenwriter, producer, podcaster, and activist best known for her starring role in the Netflix series “Grace and Frankie.” Kate Black is a policy advisor in the federal government and was formerly chief of staff and vice president of research at EMILY’s List, the largest resource for women in politics. She also served as executive director of American Women, a nonpartisan research organization working to uplift the voices of women and the issues they care about.
They will be joined by Ella Jones, the first Black woman to be elected mayor of Ferguson. Jones will share her lived experience as a woman who successfully ran for office and how the advice in “Represent” resonates with her personal journey to mayorship.
You can join both programs virtually via Zoom by visiting the events calendar at mohistory.org. Just select the event, then look for the “Join Through Zoom” button at the bottom of the program description. “What Are We Fighting For” will also be available to view on MHS’s YouTube channel beginning next week.
“Beyond the Ballot” is open now through March 1, 2022, at the Missouri History Museum. The museum is currently open to the public on Wednesdays through Sundays with free timed tickets.